Did you know that in the United States, there are over two million real estate agents?
While it's great to have options, it can be hard to find the best one for you because the industry has so many. If you're just starting the process of buying or selling a home, you may be feeling overwhelmed, which is completely normal.
Finding a trustworthy realtor can make all the difference. If you've had a bad experience in the past, you may be hesitant to work with another real estate company. However, the right one for you is out there and we are going to tell you how to find them.
If you're trying to filter through the Omaha real estate companies to find the best one we've come to the right place. We are going to tell you everything you need to know about finding a reputable company and agent.
Talk to a Mortgage Broker
Purchasing a home is an exciting step and you may be tempted to jump right in and contact a real estate agent. However, before starting your search for a real estate company, talk to a mortgage broker. Getting pre-approved for a loan will tell you exactly how much money you have to spend on a new property.
You'll be able to give the agent a price range so neither one of you wastes time. Imagine hiring an agent, finding the perfect new home, and then finding out you can't afford it or you can't get a loan. Not only will you be heartbroken, but the home buying process will be much longer.
Get Agent Referrals
When you're searching through Omaha real estate companies, ask your friends, family, and neighbors if they have any recommendations. Talk to people who are or were in a similar situation as you when they used the agent.
You want your agent to have experience with other home buyers like yourself. If you're a first-time home buyer, your needs might not be the same as someone who owns multiple investment properties. Also be sure to ask them if they would hire the agent again.
If you've worked with an agent before and you're moving cities, you can reach out to them for a referral. Some real estate companies will have a network that stretches across the country.
Moving across the country can be stressful and challenging; you may not know anyone in the area and it can be hard to find a reputable realtor. You can reach out to a relocation specialist, they will take your information and will connect you with some agents in the area that can help you based on your wishlist and needs.
Online reviews can be helpful if having a hard time finding an agent. You can learn from people's mistakes and see how much experience each agent has.
However, don't dismiss a company because they have one or two bad reviews. If they have a lot of poor reviews then it may be best to look at other real estate agents. In the reviews, a few red flags to be on the lookout for would include if the client says they left pressured by their agent or if the realtor was hard to communicate with.
When you are looking online, be sure to check how many sales they have per year. This will tell you how active they are and if they work full-time or part-time.
Determine Part-Time vs Full-Time
You'll likely want a full-time agent working on selling or finding you a home. However, agents might not be honest about their hours. Try calling them during the hours of 9 and 5, if they don't answer they may be working another job.
You can also check their social media accounts to see when they are most active. Full-time realtors will be more active on social media platforms than those who are part.
If you're a buyer and you find a house you want to see, if your agent doesn't respond you could miss out on it. The same thing goes if you want to put an offer in, you have a limited amount of time, especially in a competitive market where multiple people are trying to buy it too.
If you're a seller and receive an offer on your home that you want to accept but can't get a hold of your agent, the offer could expire. You'll then have to wait for another one that may not be as good.
An agent or real estate company might make bold claims on their website, such as "I/We have sold 150 houses this month" be sure to ask them for verification. If they can't offer any type of proof or data to back up their statement, it may not be true and you want to work with a company that has integrity.
There are different niches in the real estate industry and finding an agent that works with the types of property you're looking for will prove to be beneficial. It's not uncommon for Omaha real estate agents to focus on different neighborhoods or subdivisions. Those agents might have more expertise in that specific Omaha neighborhood or home values in that area.
If you're looking to buy or sell a luxury property, you'll want to find a realtor who specializes in luxury real estate. They will have connections and marketing strategies to help you with selling a house. They will also be aware of your specific concerns pertaining to security and privacy that other buyers might not have.
Buyers and Sellers
While many agents will work with both buyers and sellers, some don't. The selling agent will be responsible for setting the price and doing the marketing.
There are some times when one agent will represent both parties, there are risks that come with this agreement if you're a buyer. Agents work off commissions and if they are working for both parties it may be hard to know if they are trying to get you the lowest price or if they're trying to get the most money possible.
If you're looking for a project, a fixer-upper in Omaha is a great option. An agent that's experienced with renovations will likely have connections to other industries that you may need to fix up your new property. Once you fix it up and are ready to sell, your agent may have some buyers in mind which would be helpful.
Interview Multiple Agents
It's recommended that you interview a few different agents from different companies. The first one might be a great agent, but there might be someone else that you'll work with better.
Even if you get a referral from a family member, you'll want to talk to them first before committing to work with them. You may even have a friend that's an agent, but talk to others before deciding anything, working with friends can be challenging.
When you're interviewing potential agents, know what you're looking for. Ask yourself if you want an agent that includes you in every step of the process or if you may want a realtor that takes charge. You may want someone who has a lot of experience or someone who has a lot of sales.
Whomever you're interviewing should have strong communication skills. They should be actively listening to you, not on their phone checking texts or emails.
An agent should be focused on you and asking about your goals. An experienced realtor may be able to tell you about possible challenges and how they plan to help you overcome them.
Setting up interviews can take some time and it can be hard to coordinate with multiple agents. If you have a busy schedule, you may not have time to set up three or four interviews.
Going to open houses in your area is a great way to meet and talk to realtors without having to have an appointment. You'll also get to see them in action, which could be beneficial.
Don't Be Fooled by Appearances
Choosing a real estate company based solely on its looks is not a good idea. The same goes for their online appearance, the brand, and their listing prices. While you want to sell your home for the most you can, you'll need to choose a realtor that specializes in and works with others in your price range.
A realtor's online profiles are going to show the best parts, you need to sit down and talk to them. This will help you decide if you're personalities mesh together.
You're going to want to get along with your agents too; you won't know if you do by looking at their online presence. You will be working with this person for weeks, maybe even months, do your due diligence, and don't rush into a contract.
Questions to Ask
There are a few things you need to look for and ask your agent about when you're interviewing them. These inquiries will let you know if you can and/or want to work with them. As a new homebuyer, you might not know the ins and outs of the home buying process and a good realtor will be able to walk you through the steps.
If you work a traditional 9 to 5 job, you may not be able to get off work to look at homes. Be sure to ask your agent what hours they are willing to work and if they are available to take you to showings in the evenings or weekends.
It can be frustrating to have questions and not be able to get a hold of your realtor. Setting expectations upfront is going to be a game changer and will reduce your stress later on. You also want your agent to be committed to helping you, and if their schedules are packed with other clients, you might not feel like a priority.
Community Knowledge and Involvement
There are a lot of realtors in Omaha, look for one that is invested in the community. Keep an eye out for those who are involved with the local schools or someone who volunteers in the neighborhood.
Someone who has the same interests as you will be able to find a place you like easier. If you have pets and want to be close to a park, an agent that is familiar with the area will know which areas to show you.
If you have children and want to purchase a home in a county with the best schools, the right agent will know where to look. They will also know which neighborhoods are in your price range.
If you're selling a house, you're going to want your real estate agent to have great marketing skills. The longer your home sits on the market, the more money you're going to spend especially if you've already moved out.
A great agent will know what sites to put your property on and which photos and videos will make it pop and grab people's attention. They should also be able to write descriptions that make people what to see your home in person.
Your agent should also have connections outside the traditional market that can help sell your home faster. Ask the agent about their marketing strategies and how they plan to sell your home in a competitive market.
Look For Red Flags
When you're interviewing agents, keep an eye out for red flags, and if you ever feel uncomfortable or uneasy, don't commit to working with them. A good agent won't pressure you into signing an agreement. They should give you time to interview others and look over the contract.
If they do rush you into a commitment, they will likely try to pressure you into taking an offer you don't want or push you to put an offer in that's out of your budget. If they dismiss your concerns or don't take the time to explain the contracts before you sign them, then find a new one.
If a real estate agent talks negatively about other realtors, you should proceed with caution. It shows they are unprofessional and it could cause issues later on if they violate local laws.
Commission rates are often negotiable, and if an agent has a high rate ask them to explain why. They may offer extra services or it might have to do with their experience, but if they can't give you an explanation then consider someone else.
Look at how many sales an agent has in a year. Anything less than ten, depending on the market, might mean that they are part-time or might not be as experienced.
Whether you're buying or selling a home in Omaha, your real estate agent needs to be licensed by the state. The National Association of Realtors offers a few different certifications and you can ask your agent if they have any of them.
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS)
- Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR)
- Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES)
- Seller Representative Specialist (SRS)
Someone who is an SRES may be a great option if you're 50+ years old. They will likely know your needs better than someone who has a different certification or is a new agent.
You may be looking for an investment property and then you may want to work with some who has the ABR certification. Be sure to ask if their license is up to do and not expired.
It doesn't matter how long a real estate company has been in business or what the market is like; they can't make guarantees. The market is constantly changing and no one knows how fast a home for sale will sell. Be wary of realtors who make promises.
An experienced agent will be more familiar with the processes and the market and will be able to reduce some of your stress. A new realtor won't be as confident and may not be able to answer all your questions which will be unsettling and frustrating.
If you're moving to Omaha and in the process of packing up your home in another state, you may not be able to travel to every open house and showing. In this case, you're going to want an agent who is familiar with technology and can set up tual tours for you.
As a seller, you need to be able to trust your agent, if you're moving out of state you're going to be passing your keys over to your agent in Omaha. You need to know they are protecting your investment during showings. Ask for References
During the interview process, don't be afraid to ask for references. They should have previous clients that you can reach out to. Once you've been provided with their contact information be sure to contact them.
You should injure about their experience working with the agent. You can also request some pros and cons and ask if they would work with the agent again in the future.
It's important to ask if they feel supported and heard throughout the whole process. If the agent doesn't have references, you may want to move on to someone else.
Read the Contract
Once you find an agent, you're going to need to have something in writing. You'll be able to negotiate the terms of the contract based on your needs. The contract can be any amount of time that you both agree to.
Six months is a good amount of time if you aren't sure. The majority of agents won't accept a contract that's less than three months because they won't have enough time to market your property.
When you're discussing the commission, you don't always want to push for the lowest amount. The cost of marketing comes out of the agent's commissions, if you insist on a lower amount, you may not get the best marketing resources. Remember, you get what you pay for.
If you want to cancel your contract earlier because your agent isn't delivering, it's up to the agent's broker to let you out of the deal. You might need to get out of the contract for other reasons, for example, if you decide not to move or if another deal fell through.
An agent wants to help you as happy as possible so you'll bring your business back to them or refer others. This may help you get out of the contract, but it's not guaranteed.
That's one of the reasons it's important to do your research before signing any contracts or documents. As a seller you could be responsible for paying the original commission, so be careful.
What Happens if Your Listing Expires
If your contract with your agent expires, other realtors may start contacting you. They may offer you their services and want to sell your home. This could be beneficial for you as they could have other connections and have people interested in your property already.
However, you need to take the same steps with the agents that reached out to you. Be sure they are someone you can work well with and they need to have your best interests in mind, not their own.
Omaha Real Estate Companies
Working with the right real estate company can change your entire home-buying and selling experience. Getting overwhelmed and stressed can happen quickly, take one step at a time, and don't rush.
Now that you know what to look for in Omaha real estate companies, it's time to get started. Contact us to talk to an agent. We've helped hundreds of people find their dream homes and sold many houses, and we can do the same for you.